Another APNU/AFC supporter seeks to block GECOM’s declaration
…asking court to compel GECOM to use fraudulent Mingo numbers
Just as Guyanese were hoping for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to end the country’s four-month-old APNU/AFC-created political crisis, another application has been filed in the High Court seeking to prevent the Commission from doing its work.
A Fixed Date Application (FDA) was filed on behalf of coalition supporter Misenga Jones by Attorney-at-Law Mayo Robertson on Tuesday. The FDA names GECOM, GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and Attorney General Basil Williams as respondents.
Among other things, the FDA claims that the Commission does not have the constitutional authority to direct Lowenfield, despite the clear provisions of Section 18 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No 15 of 2000. Section 18 states that “the Chief Election Officer and the Commissioner of Registration shall notwithstanding anything in any written law be subject to the direction and control of the Commission.”
The FDA also seeks to compel GECOM to use the declarations from the 10 Returning Officers, including the fraudulent declaration of Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, who was exposed by the National Recount to have inflated A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) votes to give the incumbent an overall win.
Mingo had fraudulently declared 136,057 votes for APNU/AFC and 77,231 votes for PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party (PPP)), in Region Four. According to the certified General Elections results, however, PPP actually gained 80,920 votes in Region Four while APNU/AFC received 116,941 votes.
It, therefore, means that Mingo added 19,000 phantom votes to his Region Four tally, in order to push APNU/AFC over the finish line. In fact, the 33-day National Recount had shown that Mingo inflated APNU/AFC votes and deflated votes from other parties, particularly the PPP/C, in order to give the incumbent a win. These are several of the factors that led GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, setting aside the 10 declarations.
Additionally, the recount almost perfectly matched the Statements of Poll (SoPs) that the PPP/C released since March… SoPs which to this day APNU/AFC have refused to release. Despite clearly losing the elections, however, APNU/AFC have been dogged in their determination to hang on to power and delay the process, first going to court to block the recount and then blocking the declaration of the results based on the recount.
The entire international community has made it clear that it will not accept a President sworn in on the basis of Mingo’s fraudulent declaration. They have been equally united in urging GECOM to declare using the certified recount results, which would have gone through a rigorous process of transparency, unlike the results which Mingo secretly tabulated using a spreadsheet.
Meanwhile, an affidavit in support of Jones was also filed by APNU/AFC counting agent during the recount, Ganesh Mahipaul. Mahipaul supported Jones’ contention and says that because the Statements or Certificates of Recount were not gazetted, they cannot be used to declare the results. He is also being represented by Robertson. However, cold water was thrown on this argument on Tuesday. During a brief comment on the proceedings, GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, who is an attorney-at-law, when asked about the issue, said that the recount itself as an exercise was already gazetted. He noted that whatever comes out of it is already catered for by Order 60 of 2020 (the recount order).
Robertson has been consistently associated with the coalition, having been the lawyer who represented APNU/AFC supporter Eslyn David in her application to the Court of Appeal last month to stop GECOM from declaring the results of the recount. While Court of Appeal Judges Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory ruled in her favour and Judge Rishi Persaud ruled against, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) subsequently threw out their decision as unlawful.
Robertson also represented Ulita Moore, another APNU/AFC supporter who approached the courts back in March to impede the work of GECOM. In her case, Moore was granted an injunction by High Court Judge Franklyn Holder, blocking the recount from even happening. However, Holder’s injunction was subsequently tossed out by the Full Court.
The hearing of Jones v GECOM et al, is scheduled to be heard today at 10:00h by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George. The main Opposition PPP/C, through General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, have indicated an intent to join the proceedings. (G3)